Writing is one of my life’s passions. I put my heart and soul into each and every romance novel I write, and my blog is where you’ll get the inside scoop. You’ll learn more about your favorite characters, and I’ll talk about what inspires me. And when I start working on my next novel, you’ll be the first to know.
Work on my upcoming romance novel, The Scandal, has been interesting, to say the least. Ask any author, and they’ll tell you all books present their challenges as they’re being written. However, we authors always manage to work through them. That said, some books are simply more challenging than others. The Scandal has certainly presented its fair share of issues, and then some. I will admit, however, that it’s been such a fun book to write that I haven’t minded doing all the extra work. In fact, I’ve enjoyed spending the additional time with it. Truth be told, I don’t want this book to end.
Is it life imitating art, or is art imitating life?
As luck would have it, the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the MeToo movement, started while I was working on the treatment. Sometimes life imitates art, but really? Did it have to go this far? I take pride in writing original stories. Then there was the other issue. The MeToo movement has been controversial from the start, and I keep my books politically neutral. I also want to keep my books from becoming too dated.
Striving to keep my story separate from any real-life scandals, I decided I would make my lead antagonist more of a Roman Polanski, but it came out too creepy. I revised it, and it still came out too creepy. So, the third time around, I changed him into a Hugh Hefner like playboy. It worked. He’s a womanizer and a cad; the kind of guy you’d like to slap across the face, but he’s no longer skin crawling creepy. I really liked this new version of him. And, now that he’d been, “fixed,” so to speak, I kept going. Finally, I finished the manuscript and sent it to Cynthia, my editor. She made her changes, and now it’s gone to the proofreader.
The second edit.
Proofreading is also called the second edit, and I have a new proofreader. She’s doing an amazing job. If something seems off as she’s reading, she lets me know. As it turns out, there were a few remnants from the earlier drafts which, while rewritten, came across as too confusing to her. As a result, two chapters had to have more extensive rewrites. These chapters are much improved, but having to take extra time has slowed down production just a bit. However, my publication date is set for early October, and we will be meeting that deadline.
The next Marina Martindale novel, The Scandal is back from the editor and we are in the process of proofreading. The Scandal will be available this fall. In the meantime, here is a sneak preview. Enjoy.
The Scandal Sample Chapter
Lauren McAllen wrapped her
hands around the steering wheel and held on tight. Raindrops splattered the
windshield while the wipers furiously knocked them away.
“You may think you’re
getting him back, Ashely,” she hissed through clenched teeth, “but trust me,
it’ll never happen because he’s all mine now.” A defiant smiled broke out
across her face, but it instantly turned into a look of sheer panic and terror
as she frantically yanked the steering wheel back and forth. Unable to regain
control of the car, she threw her arms across her face and braced herself for
“Cut!” shouted a man’s
voice. “And that’s a wrap.”
As Lauren relaxed, she turned
her head and smiled. “So, we got it?”
“Perfectly,” he replied, “but if you wouldn’t mind waiting here, the director would like to speak with you for a moment.”
I consider myself lucky have grown up in a house full of readers. Both of my parents enjoyed reading. Dinner table conversations were often about the books they were enjoying. They liked spy novels, but they also read mainstream fiction.
I loved horses when I was a kid. I must have read the entire black stallion series. Marguerite Henry, however, was my favorite author. I read Brighty of the Grand Canyon from cover to cover many times over. I also loved her Misty series. Beverly Cleary was another favorite. Beezus and Ramona are timeless.
I took English lit courses throughout high school. This introduced me to many different genres. Of course, some were more interesting than others. Oftentimes, however, my biggest challenge was putting the book down. Sometimes I wanted to keep going to the end, but I couldn’t get too far ahead of the rest of class.
As an adult, if you’ll pardon the pun, I fell in love with the romance genre. And, like my parents, I too enjoyed mainstream fiction. So, from time to time, I’d borrow one of their favorite novels. I think this is why my romance novels are similar to mainstream fiction. Authors such as Arthur Hailey and Peter Benchley must have influenced my writing.
I started writing novels because I wanted to write the books I’d enjoy reading. I wasn’t concerned about how many books I would sell, or if I would become rich and famous. (Not that I wouldn’t mind, but let’s be realistic.) What I’m trying to say is that I write out of my own love of reading. So I figured if I wrote the books I would enjoy reading, then others would enjoy reading them too. Turns out, I was right. I’m getting some wonderful feedback from you, my readers.
As a romance author, I’ve been told, many times, how important social media is for promoting my books. And while it’s certainly a good tool, times have changed. Social media simply isn’t what is once was.
I was on Facebook for nearly a decade. At first, it was a lot of fun, and a good place to promote my books. I also reconnected with family and friends I’d lost touch with. But that was then, and this is now.
Facebook has changed, and not for the better. Once word about Facebook privacy violations became public I noticed my ads no longer had the reach they once had. People were closing out their Facebook accounts. Others were spending less time there.
Because I’m an author, I thought I had no choice but to put up with Facebook, even though I too no longer wished to be there. Then came the other big issue. Censorship. Facebook was targeting certain groups, such as conservatives and Christians, for censorship, but not others. For me, this is completely unacceptable. The same rules must apply equally to all.
Like many others, I’ve had enough of Facebook’s shenanigans. Author or not, I was done. So I took a deep breath and deactivated my account. And you know what? I feel so much happier for doing it. It’s like ending a bad relationship. At first it’s upsetting. Then you feel a sense of freedom and relief. It’s like having your life back.
In lieu of Facebook, I’ve started up a newsletter. I’m spending more time blogging, more time writing, and more time doing other things I enjoy. And, interestingly enough, my book sales are up.
Please don’t feel that because you’re an author or artist that you have to be on Facebook, because you don’t. There are alternatives. Blogging is a good place to start. Just saying.
Now that my latest novel, The Scandal, has gone to the editor, I’ve decided it might be a good time to update my website. I’ve cleared out the clutter. I’ve also added links so you can download free sample chapters. I also added a page for my book trailers. You can also sign up for my newsletter. Each month I give away a free copy of one of my novels. All you have to do to enter is subscribe to my newsletter, and open it once it arrives in your inbox.
Finally, after more than a year of writing, The Scandal has gone to the editor. Once again, I feel like a mom whose kids have just moved out. You think you’re going to feel happy, and part of you does. But at the same time, you also feel sad. I guess you’d call the feeling bittersweet.
I’ve genuinely loved writing all of my novels, but some have been more fun to write than others. On the pleasure to write meter, The Scandal is right up there with The Reunion. The inspiration came from one of my cousins who, years ago, had a major role on a soap opera. She was kind enough to not only invite me to visit the set, she also invited me to her wrap party when she left the show. And by the way, a soap opera wrap party is like any other corporate party. The only difference is that the faces look more familiar. But then again, when you’re a writer, you can add a little unexpected drama to make a corporate party a whole lot more interesting, which is exactly what I did in The Scandal.
Now, just so you know, Lauren McAllen, my lead character, is actually not based on my cousin. About the only thing she and my cousin have in common is they don’t hang out with the Hollywood crowd. Not all actors do. Just like doctors, attorneys, and architects, actors are all unique individuals. Some are party animals. Some have drug or alcohol issues. Others get on political soap boxes. They may make the headlines, but not everyone in Hollywood is that way. Some actors go home and hangout with their families, and their social circles don’t necessarily include other celebrities. In other words, off camera, they’re more like the rest of us, and that’s who Lauren is. If anything, she’s an extension of me; a woman totally devoted to her craft who feels truly blessed to be able to follow her dream and do what she loves.
The Scandal is also my most researched novel to date. As a writer, I strive for accuracy. I want my stories and my characters to be as realistic and believable as possible. And while visiting the set and watching a taping was truly an honor and a privilege, it hardly makes me an expert on television production. So, I spent a lot of time reading articles on how things work on the set and what happens behind the scenes. Hopefully, I’ve come close. Look for The Scandal to be released later this summer.
Once again, my good friend Rob Resetar has helped me create an amazing new book trailer. This time for my most recent novel, The Letter,and his original musical score is his best one so far. Seelie Studios assisted with the casting, and I’m very pleased this video. I hope you’re as excited about it as I am. So please, enjoy The Letter book trailer.
My illustrator, Wes Lowe, has come through once again, and he’s created his best cover illustration to date.
The Scandal is a romance novel set in Hollywood. Soap opera star Lauren McAllen has recently left the role that made her famous and landed a supporting role in a major motion picture. But before the camera rolls, her dream of stardom shatters. The studio head is soon accused of wrongdoing, and she’s unwittingly caught up in a major scandal that rocks Hollywood.
I’m still working on the manuscript. I hope to have it complete and ready to go to the editor in early July. While this book has been the most interesting one to write so far, it’s also required more research, and revisions, than anything I’ve done before. But trust me, it’ll be well worth the wait.
Ask any fiction author. They’ll tell you characters have minds of their own. And believe me, I have experienced this phenomenon many times myself. There’ve been times when a character came out differently than planned, and always been for the better.
Other villains, however, had a certain quality about them. They’re more complex, more charismatic and, for lack of a better word, sexy. Jeremy Palmer in The Reunion was the first. Originally intended to be a rogue character who would do his dirty deed and disappear, Jeremy had that special charisma. He became a rival, competing with his father to win Gillian’s affections. Josh Ramsey in The Letter was a conman. Then the chemistry between him and Stephanie unexpectedly sizzled. So I revamped him into a mystery man.
I strive to make my villains as despicable as I can. There’s nothing more fun than a villain we love to hate getting their comeuppance. Some of my more dastardly villains include Scott Andrews in The Betrayal. Scott was a married guy presenting himself as a single guy to entice unsuspecting single women. Then there’s Beau Fowler, the corrupt detective in The Betrayal. He tried to frame an innocent woman for a crime she didn’t commit. And finally, there’s Craig Walker, the sociopathic villain in The Stalker. He’ll resort to kidnapping and murder to get what he wants.
Now it’s happening again. This time it’s Calvin Michaelson, in my upcoming novel, The Scandal. Cal’s a Hollywood mogul with a reputation as a playboy. Intended to be a despicable villain for readers to hate, his character became more dynamic than expected. He too is being revamped. He’ll still be a playboy, but at the end of the story a new and completely unexpected side to Cal will be revealed.